More delays threaten the Thirty Meter Telescope in Hawaii

Pioneer cover

From the press release: From the moment he is handed a possibility of making the first alien contact, Saunders Maxwell decides he will do it, even if doing so takes him through hell and back.

Unfortunately, that is exactly where that journey takes him.

The vision that Zimmerman paints of vibrant human colonies on the Moon, Mars, the asteroids, and beyond, indomitably fighting the harsh lifeless environment of space to build new societies, captures perfectly the emerging space race we see today.

He also captures in Pioneer the heart of the human spirit, willing to push forward no matter the odds, no matter the cost. It is that spirit that will make the exploration of the heavens possible, forever, into the never-ending future.

Available everywhere for $3.99 (before discount) at amazon, Barnes & Noble, all ebook vendors, or direct from the ebook publisher, ebookit.

The coming dark age: The delaying tactics of the opponents to building the Thirty Meter Telescope in Hawaii has caused the consortium to announce that it now seriously considering moving the telescope to Spain’s Canary Islands.

These have been the most recent delaying tactics:

On Thursday, the Hawaii Senate approved a bill to ban new construction atop Mauna Kea, and included a series of audits and other requirements before the ban could be lifted. But House leaders said they don’t have plans to advance the bill. Democratic House Speaker Scott Saiki told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser that the “bill is dead on arrival in the House.”

There are also two appeals before the Hawaii Supreme Court. One challenges the sublease and land use permit issued by the Hawaii Board of Land and Natural Resources. The other has been brought by a Native Hawaiian man who says use of the land interferes with his right to exercise cultural practices and is thus entitled to a case hearing.

When the telescope gets moved, expect these barbarians in Hawaii to celebrate loudly, claiming their victory as a victory for “native rights.” What they will really be telling us is two things. First, they are against gaining new knowledge and new technology in a manner that does no one any harm. And two, they put racial rights above all, making them the worst sort of bigots.


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  • Localfluff

    Astronomers show kindness and respect to the primitives, by giving celestial objects Hawaiian names. That is perceived as a weakness and provokes money grabbing attacks and even violence. I saw someone (a politician?) in Israel who has understood this. He says that Israel doesn’t need peace, it has become a well working society despite the terror attacks. If the arabs want peace they will have to beg for it and explain how much they want top pay in order to get peace. When one says that one wants peace, arabs see that as a weakness and automatically want war.

  • Tom Billings

    I think we may find that one of the best reasons for building large aperture telescopes *in*Space* will be the lack of this growing extortionist/denialist movement towards large telescopes here on Earth. While the 30 meter scope is certainly the most prominent such case, it is not the only one by any means. While one would enjoy the cheaper nature of building telescopes on the ground, even with that limits caused by gravity *will* be reached.

    It is past time for the international astronomy community to recognize that supporting assembly/building telescopes in orbit is something that will do more good than even building a 30 meter scope somewhere else on Earth. You just won’t be able to get money to do this from any but private sources, because Congress doesn’t benefit from it. With cheaper launches advancing, the day when assembly in orbit will be cheap enough for private funding gets closer every year.

  • Orion314

    People are always shocked when people who are married to a primitive culture act like primitives.
    I think cutting off hawwhiney from projects such as this is long overdue.

  • Max

    Another close call with a football field sized Rock passing between us and the moon with only one day notice. The sooner we get equipment in orbit for remote sensing the better.

  • Localfluff

    TMT might have too narrow field of view to hunt asteroids, but it could characterize individuals. A recent survey with a 4 meter wide field of view mirror, with a camera actually primarily meant for Dark Energy mapping far far away, turned out to be great for hunting small NEOs, down to 20 meter diameter like Chelyabinsk. Based on their sample observations, they estimate that there are four million(!) Near Earth Objects larger than 10-20 meters. Four million small islands, potentially useful for refueling.

  • Max

    @ Localfluff
    Thank you, your knowledge always surprises me.
    In keeping my comment brief, I failed to communicate adequately.
    @ Tom Billings said;
    I think we may find that one of the best reasons for building large aperture telescopes *in*Space* will be the lack of this growing extortionist/denialist movement towards large telescopes here on Earth.

    I agree, building telescopes on the ground was fine for the 20th century, waiting for the sun to go down, and for the weather to clear up. Freezing your butt off at high altitude’s while dealing with fuzzy pictures through the atmosphere…
    In the 21st century, no one should be building billion $ telescope anywhere but in space! With 24 hour availability 365 days a year. No freezing, endless clear skies from the convenience of your lab.
    I make a prediction, in my lifetime, the next generation of telescopes are placed in orbit. All earth based telescopes will become obsolete. Museum pieces for training amateurs.

    Which gets me to the second part of my comment, we just had a near miss with a very large astroid! We had less than 24 hour notice, this is unacceptable. A early warning detection system should be priority so that earth is not caught with our pants down.
    Ideally, the best location would be 4 dish installments on the Darkside (far side) of the moon. Full sky visibility with equilateral distance for triangulation. All insulated from Earth noise. In fact, they would not need broadcast power because earth makes so much radio noise that the receivers can pick up bounce back in passive mode.
    The technology has existed for years, land 4 or more lunar probes in the appropriate spots with solar panels and radar dish and we will know where every object is between us and Jupiter. A fancy telescope to see the objects wouldn’t hurt either.

  • Edward

    Max wrote: “In fact, they would not need broadcast power because earth makes so much radio noise that the receivers can pick up bounce back in passive mode.

    Radars work best when they send their own signal. They place a tag with their pings in order to distinguish a return from any other radar’s signal. For deep space radars, a unique tag on each ping may be required in order to determine the time that the signal was sent so that distance (range) can be found.

    Radio telescopes on the far side of the Moon may also be useful. The Earth has only a limited number of narrow frequencies that are free of noise for radio astronomy. Think if our optical telescopes were only able to see a narrow band of ultraviolet, blue, red, and a narrow band of infrared; we would miss out on quite a bit of information.

  • Max

    The method you described would be the normal function in most circumstances for maximum results. Radar tends to consume a lot of power. The listening posts will be without sunlight for 14 days, only seven days of strong sun light out of 28.
    The power problem can be resolved by radar signal being broadcast from either satellites in lunar orbit, or from earth like the dish in Puerto Rico that mapped the surface of Venus. This passive mode will conserve the power for optimal moments when the sun has gone down. Then accurate information, in the maner you have described, can be gathered like location, size, and speed of travel.


    The destroyed planet theory that created the astroid belt is back again.

  • Edward

    Max wrote: “The power problem can be resolved by radar signal being broadcast from either satellites in lunar orbit, or from earth like the dish in Puerto Rico that mapped the surface of Venus.

    It sounds like an excellent solution to the power problem. A phased array on the far side of the Moon listens for echoes and compares them to the known location and time of the source. The phased array already knows the incoming direction, so the timing is calculated.

    As it turns out, if you have both the direction and distance to an orbiting object, you can determine its orbit with two sightings (preferably days apart for objects such as distant comets). If all you have is direction, then three sightings are required.

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